the mail slot
by Mark Belair

after my grandfather died / our next-door neighbor / mr hurd /
a longtime friend / served as his mortician

the hurds had no children / so mrs hurd showered my older sister /
with pink satin dresses and patent-leather shoes and streamer-
strung birthday parties / all to make up for the attention / which
i sensed even then / at three / that my grandfather / having raised
two girls / bestowed on me / his only grandson

a few days after the funeral / with the silence of our family house /
absent my grandfather / ringing in my ears / i snuck next door /
opened the front door mail slot / and called for my sister / the girl
i’d always rushed to abandon / whenever my grandfather called

but no one was home / mrs hurd and my sister were either shopping /
or out to tea / while mr hurd was likely at his funeral parlor /
preparing another corpse

all i saw / was a slice of empty interior / in which an unseen
grandfather clock / chimed once / the room / after the echo died /
silent as my house















by Mark Belair

I devote a corner
to a lamp, books, and desk chair
I withdraw to
come evening, a corner
quiet
as the corner
of a boxing ring
between rounds, the hectoring world
unheard, the fighter’s focus
lost to the reviving work
done on him—the rub, the balm,
the sting.








_____________________________________________________


Mark Belair’s poems have appeared in numerous journals,
including
Alabama Literary Review, Atlanta Review, The
Cincinnati Review
, Harvard Review, Michigan Quarterly
Review
, Poetry East, and The South Carolina Review.  His
latest collection of poetry is
Watching Ourselves, which was
published by Unsolicited Press in 2017.  


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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary
Literature
 

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 14, Number 1
(Spring 2019)

Copyright © 2019
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Apple
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
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